I am not talking about me. While it is true that I am preparing for a gravel race, it is only a hundred miles long.
A hundred mile race is peanuts. Let me tell you about a guy named Joe Welker. Joe is an Army veteran and is a crazy psycho because in a few weeks he will ride his bike along the Continental Divide for 2768 off road miles from Canada to Mexico.
I used to live in Colorado. Tackling the Continental Divide is no Sunday drive, I can assure you. You know how they always talk about the mile-high elevation in Denver and how the Broncos’ opponents suck air when they come town? Joe is riding his bike at twice that elevation averaging something like 150 miles a day.
The race is called Tour Divide, which starts in mid-June. There are no prizes or awards, just the joy of pedaling through the tallest and most challenging mountains in North America and not dying along the way.
If you have twenty minutes, watch this video of a rider’s experience in 2014 (or just sample a few of the highlights if you’re in a rush).
Here is what the tour’s website has to say about the serene and peaceful environment in which they will be riding:
“Divide racers must not only be conditioned to endure weeks of consecutive 16+ hour days in the saddle, they need to bring other skills to the trail. Mount Shark, Canada The route is unmarked and circuitous, requiring navigational acumen. It travels through remote backcountry with Grizzly and Mountain Lion density. Intervals between services are frequently 100+ miles and demand calculated food/water resupply–or else. Riders must also find shelter each night or bivouac trailside. In minutes the Rockies’ dynamic mountain weather can wreak havoc on route surfaces, skewing even the most near-term travel projections.”
Where do I sign up?
Which, ironically, is exactly what Joe said, and now he is going. Because his chance for fame is next to nothing since there is no celebration – or people, for that matter – at the finish line, Joe has offered to take pledges of support (i.e. pledge per mile), with the proceeds going to wounded and injured veterans in the Wyakin program.
So a one penny per mile pledge would net about $27.68; a dime would bring in $276.80. If you want to offer a pledge, just put in a comment on the Broadside Blog site on military.com or on the Broadside Facebook page and we’ll be in touch to work out the details.